James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
9 September 2016, 12:18
After Nick Ferrari demonstrates one, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe refuses to try on one of the controversial ‘spit hoods’.
‘Spit Hoods’, as the name suggests, are designed to be put over an offender’s head to stop them spitting at or biting officers, which could lead to them catching a disease.
However, they come with considerable controversy, with the human rights group Liberty calling them “primitive, cruel and degrading”. The London force are planning to trial the hoods in custody suites (not on patrols) from October.
Nick Ferrari donned one of the hoods during his breakfast show yesterday, saying it was quite comfortable and did not have any effect on his breathing or sight. The head of the Met, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was in the studio with Nick this morning and was invited to also try one on, but he refused.
"Would you like to try one on, commissioner?"
"No, I'm not going to try one on. No, but thank you."
Sir Bernard acknowledged that the idea of placing people in hoods has strong, negative connotations and that the Met itself was averse to them at first.
"The way people emotionally react to spit hoods, I react the same way.
"Five times we added it to our policy forum and we said, 'hang on a minute, is this the right thing to do?' because we all had an impression of a big plastic bag or a leather hood or something horrible.
"It was only when we saw it, as you just showed it, that we thought 'actually, this isn't such a terrible thing.'"
While the police plan to trial them next month, the commissioner said the Met will continue to consult with the Mayor of London about their use.